5 Shopping Festivals in China You Must Know

Before moving to the shopping festivals, there’s one thing about Chinese consumers you should know: they love small gifts even though it’s a cheap one. They usually act fast if there’re any big sales and special promotions. In that case, if you want to win a chance to get exposed to more audiences, increase brand awareness, and drive more traffic and sales, now it’s time to adapt to the local cultures and traditions, and to know the main Chinese shopping festivals.

Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year, also widely known as the Spring Festival, is usually in the late of January and early of February according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar. It is the most important festival for all Chinese people, not only in China but also worldwide.

The family reunion is what all Chinese New Year about through the whole year. Everybody “rushes” to go home just for the family reunion dinner and celebration on Chinese New Year’s Eve. To most Chinese people, if they miss the meal and celebration on New Year’s Eve, they kind of miss the moment of “Guo Nian”, literally means “Pass the Year” (Nian is a monster, referring to “Year”).

It’s a time of the year people get to “feast” and celebrate with family. To make the festival mood around them, food, snacks, drinks, Hongbao (Red Pocket) envelopes, gifts, clothes, and many more, are highly demanded before and during this time. The Chinese cultural traditions are in their subconscious mind, so they would shop a lot before the Spring Festival, just like they get to “fest”, especially young generations.

In addition, young Chinese people more intend to go out for socializing or parties with friends. They have specific needs when they shop, sometimes only for social.

Therefore, everywhere is full of goods on the shelves from big shopping malls to local convenience stores. For sure, e-commerce channels, like Alibaba (Tmall and Taobao) and JD, would definitely not want to miss the biggest demand of the year. In that case, it’s vital to sufficiently prepare and plan before the big sales and promotion and hiring a Chinese digital marketing agency would be wise to have all the keys to successfully prepare your campaign.

520 Day

Modern Chinese people make “romance” to the top.

They celebrate the very traditional Chinese Valentine’s Day – Qixi (7th July Lunar Calendar), Western Valentine’s Day (14th February), and newest popular one – 520 Day. To most foreigners, the first two are not new, whereas you might wonder what “520” is exactly. 

5.20 is a short form of the day 20th of May. It was first simply used to express “I Love You” as it sounds very close to “Wo Ai Ni” in Chinese. Somehow, it has gone viral among young women and men to celebrate the day together and send gifts to their beloved ones.

E-commerce platforms, along with the physical restaurants and shops, follow this trend to offer a special discount on this special day.


Chinese e-commerce channels seize every opportunity to drive e-consumers to buy more. JD.com, the second-largest e-commerce platforms in China, started celebrating its anniversary on June 18th every year since 2010, along with big sales and promotions, lasting 18 days. It has influenced the other e-commerce platforms, as well as the offline sales channels, to follow this trend by offering big discounts.

Double 11

You may have learned the Double 11 shopping festival, also well-known as the “Single Day”, held on 11th November yearly, has become the largest online shopping event in the world.

The concept was taken from the Bachelors’ Day (光棍节 in Chinese), originated at Nanjing University in 1993. It was initially introduced as an annual shopping festival by Alibaba in 2009 and gradually adopted by other e-commerce platforms, like JD.com, Pingduoduo, and WeChat Store.

According to Alibaba, the first festival season surprisingly hit 52 million RMB of sales volume of, and the latest extended 11-day Single Day 2020 generated 498.2 billion yuan (US$75.8 billion) of sales volume.

There’s no doubt that Alibaba has made the Double 11 shopping festival the biggest shopping event in the world. It’s actually a very smart strategy to promote it mid-November, avoiding the Golden Week (National Day Holidays) and Christmas shopping season.

More diversified concepts have been adopted to drive more sales, such as presales and real discount promotions ahead of the Double 11.

Double 12

The Double 12 shopping event is held on December 12th yearly, following the biggest Double 11 shopping event. The main concept behind this is to create more opportunities for sellers to clear the stock left post Single Day. On the other hand, Double 12 is expected to drive sales for those small and medium-sized brands and retailers affected by the big retailers during Double 11.

Key takeaways:

  • It’s the trend that all brands and retailers would have to join Shopping Festivals to get more exposure.
  • It’s also a good opportunity to increase brand awareness and generate sales.
  • To be fully ready for the big deals and stand out from the crowd, it’s vital to prepare and plan a few months ahead.
  • In 5G era, live streaming e-commerce will be a useful tool to leverage your selling on shopping festivals.
  • In China, there are much more shopping festivals than in the West, which shall be integrated in your marketing plan.

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